isn’t only the title of Dr. Lucas Richert
’s new book; it’s also a good description of the journey substances take from the black market to the doctor’s black bag—and, sometimes, back to the black market again. In Strange Trips: Science, Culture, and the Regulation of Drugs
(McGill-Queens University Press, 2019), Richert investigates the myths, meanings, and boundaries of recreational drugs, palliative care drugs, and pharmaceuticals, as well as struggles over product innovation, consumer protection, and freedom of choice in the medical marketplace. Focusing primarily on the United States and Canada, Richert shows how perceptions of products can swiftly change, and incorporates analyses of popular culture, science, politics and history to trace the strange trips drugs consistently go on as their uses evolve.
Emily Dufton is the author of Grass Roots: The Rise and Fall and Rise of Marijuana in America
(Basic Books, 2017). A drug historian and writer, she edits Points, the blog of the Alcohol and Drugs History Society.